French Travel Writing in the Ottoman Empire: Marseilles to Constantinople, 1650-1700, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

French Travel Writing in the Ottoman Empire

Marseilles to Constantinople, 1650-1700, 1st Edition

By Michele Longino


180 pages | 13 B/W Illus.

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Examining the history of the French experience of the Ottoman world and Turkey, this comparative study visits the accounts of early modern travelers for the insights they bring to the field of travel writing. The journals of contemporaries Jean-Baptiste Tavernier, Jean Thévenot, Laurent D’Arvieux, Guillaume-Joseph Grelot, Jean Chardin, and Antoine Galland reveal a rich corpus of political, social, and cultural elements relating to the Ottoman Empire at the time, enabling an appreciation of the diverse shapes that travel narratives can take at a distinct historical juncture. Longino examines how these writers construct themselves as authors, characters, and individuals in keeping with the central human project of individuation in the early modern era, also marking the differences that define each of these travelers – the shopper, the envoy, the voyeur, the arriviste, the ethnographer, the merchant. She shows how these narratives complicate and alter political and cultural paradigms in the fields of Mediterranean studies, 17th-century French studies, and cultural studies, arguing for their importance in the canon of early modern narrative forms, and specifically travel writing. The first study to examine these travel journals and writers together, this book will be of interest to a range of scholars covering travel writing, French literature, and history.


"This is an interesting study of six of the most important French travellers to the Ottoman Empire, and, more especially, Constantinople, in the seventeenth century. Longino’s analysis helps us to understand the French national background against which the travellers operated, their character, their motivations and their prejudices, all of which are valuable contributions to our knowledge. In addition… her analyses of the travel journals offer a richly human […] picture of the expatriate French community in Turkey of that period, and to a lesser extent, of wider Ottoman society… Longino’s work is an important contribution to our understanding of why seventeenth-century French travel writers of the Ottoman Empire wrote as they did." - Paul Auchterlonie, University of Exeter, UK

Table of Contents

Introduction 1. The Jeweler / Voyeur. Jean-Baptiste Tavernier (1605-1689) 2. The Tourist / Ethnographer. Jean Thévenot (1633-1667) 3. The Arriviste / Envoy. Laurent D’Arvieux (1635-1702) 4. The Conquering Artist. Guillaume-Joseph Grelot (1638 - ?) 5. The English Frenchman.. Jean Chardin (1643-1712) 6. The Reluctant Diarist. Antoine Galland (1646-1715) Conclusion

About the Author

Michele Longino is Professor of Romance Studies at Duke University, USA.

About the Series

Routledge Research in Travel Writing

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
HISTORY / Europe / France
LITERARY CRITICISM / European / French